Olive leaf extract inhibits breast, ovarian cancer cell growth

BREAST and ovarian cancer are two of the deadliest malignancies among women worldwide. Furthermore, ovarian tumors are generally diagnosed at an already advanced stage and any specific treatment approach has still been individuated to effectively eradicate the disease with a good prognosis.

Therefore, new strategies that could help to improve the progression-free survival (PFS) and detect these cancers at an earlier stage are urgently needed.

One of these strategies may include the use of herbal-derived active compounds and nutraceuticals, which, since ancient times, have been widely employed for their high therapeutic value in a big range of diseases including infections, neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes and, more recently, cancer.

Following this reasoning, a more exhaustive understanding of how the vegetable fraction of the daily diet may counteract the molecular mechanisms involved in cancers of the female reproductive system, and could help to discover new and better targeted tumor therapies.

Researchers from the University of L’Aquila, Italy, led by Professor Annamaria Cimini at the Life, Health and Environmental Sciences Department, have focused their efforts on the study of the beneficial properties of a discardable plant extract in gynecological cancer disease.

Since 2012, Prof. Cimini has also held the position of Adjunct Full Professor at Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO), the research organization directed and founded by Prof. Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D., at Temple University.

The group analyzed the antiproliferative activity of a commercial olive leaf extract (OLE) in triple-negative breast and ovarian tumor cells through MTS and Colony formation assays, and identified a dramatic and specific decrease in cell viability in the tumor-treated samples vs. the untreated control groups.

Also, the authors of the study identified a cell cycle arrest and a selective programmed-cell death (apoptosis) upon OLE treatment only within the tumor models, confirming the safety of the extract in normal healthy cells. Pro-apoptotic biomarkers cleaved-Caspase 9 and cleaved PARP were also upregulated exclusively in cancer cells.

The recent work, with Prof. Cimini as corresponding author, has just been published online in Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, a peer-reviewed scientific journal of Elsevier B.V. (ScienceDirect®).


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